The challenges expat women face
Moving to a new country can seem like a real challenge no matter who you are/ But moving to a new country as a woman, whether moving with a partner, family or solo, can throw up a whole bunch of unique challenges. Whether it’s down to different customs, specific religious traditions and rules, or laws which differ to what you’re used to there are several reasons why expat women face different challenges to men.
While the challenges women face can vary considerably, there are a number of common issues that face female expats. Here at Santa Fe Relocation, we’re looking at the challenges expat women face to help you understand how to overcome the challenges of living in a foreign country as a woman.
Keeping safe in a new place
Even though safety is an issue for women across the globe, it plays a more prominent role in the lives of women living in a foreign country.
The primary fact that leaves an individual particularly vulnerable in any situation is unfamiliarity. As a result, being as observant to surroundings and the cultural atmosphere is one of the best precautions women can take. Understanding which streets and neighbourhoods are safest, and understanding a location’s history, culture and prominent social issues are important to put things into perspective.
In addition, learning the language is another important factor to understanding what is going on around you. This also enables women to network with other expats as well as the local community, ensuring they feel safe and secure in a foreign country.
When women aren’t treated equally
When moving abroad, women should prepare themselves for being treated differently than they may be used to in their culture or country. Whilst it can be difficult to emphasise the true importance of understanding how different various cultural attitudes are, by understanding the cultural differences of your new home country, you will find it far easier to adapt to your new surroundings. This can help you to ensure you are acting appropriately in certain social situations.
Dealing with the stress
Many women find expatriation stressful, especially when trying to balance the new rules and culture with raising a family. According a report conducted by the US-based Interchange Institute, mothers with teenagers often have the most difficult time adjusting. This is especially true for one parent families relocating, or where the majority of the child care falls to the woman. For many woman moving abroad, setting up hobbies and interests that bring them a sense of stress relief and joy can really help offset this. And choosing a hobby you had previously you can also enjoy something from your old life, in your new home.
Connection and growing a support system
Many expatriate women report requiring the need to feel connected with a community to overcome the feeling of isolation. This is often compounded by being far away from your family and friends. Creating a support system goes a long way to feeling at home in your new country and decreasing stress.
Feeling connected with a community will help avoid the fear of the unknown and various insecurities about being ‘different’ and not fitting in. Whilst finding your new community can be a challenge, learning the language of your new home country can help significantly. By speaking the local language you increase the ways that you’re able to engage with the community. In turn, this also makes tasks such as asking for help far less frustrating.
Networking in a new place
Another challenge expat women face is networking within their new community. Whether that’s as a result of social norms that restrict how a woman can socialise, language barriers, or lack of time due to family commitments, networking can feel like a real challenge. But in order to create a full and enjoyable new life, expats need to be able to network with friends, family, other expats and people with similar interests.
If you’re a female expat abroad, consider ways in which you can prevent boundaries to networking in your new home. From finding childcare assistance, to networking groups (especially women’s networking groups) and taking time to enjoy a hobby, there are lots of ways you can mitigate the challenges.
If you’re looking to move abroad, or would like more information about the relocation process, we’re here to help. Contact us today for more information on the benefits of relocating, and find out if it is the right move for you!